The Creek Side Clubhouse and Grill is now open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week at the Gypsum Creek Clubhouse.
A grand opening is Saturday, April 13. The restaurant started its soft opening with Easter brunch last week, serving about 350 people throughout the day.
"We serve breakfast, lunch and dinner - for now, our breakfast menu is only available on Saturday and Sunday, though, until things pick up," said Chef Kenny Hanson.
Hanson has almost 20 years of experience in upscale kitchens around Vail. He started at the Marriott in Lionshead and left as a sous chef after eight years. He chef'ed for the Red Lion for five years and then the Beaver Creek Chophouse. At one point he helped Mike Rindone open a deli in Edwards and the two recently partnered with a third person to open Creek Side in Gypsum.
"I like the potential of the building," Hanson said. "I've played golf out here for a long time and never saw any restaurant in the clubhouse that worked."
Hanson and his partners are aiming for the long haul. Thanks to some food-supplier connections and a good deal on rent from the town of Gypsum, pretty much everything on the menu is under $10 - and portions are generous.
"We're trying to do a Gypsum price point, so you're not looking at upvalley prices," Hanson said. "At the Chophouse, we were selling $32 steaks and it was just steak on a plate."
The most expensive menu item on the Creek Side menu is a 10-ounce Angus New York strip steak grilled to order and served with a potato and fresh vegetables for $15. You can add shrimp on top of the steak for $18. Add a side salad for $2 more.
For $10, you can get sauteed salmon with a touch of garlic finished off with a balsamic glaze. Other entrees include fish and chips for $9, sauteed chicken breast for $9, shrimp and spinach pasta in sun-dried tomato cream sauce for $11, homemade lasagna for $9 and vegetarian pasta for $9.
Burgers are all $8 except for the classic bacon cheeseburger, which is $9. The other variations include a black and blue burger (blackened seasoning, blue cheese crumbles and crispy onion), a green chili burger and a reuben burger.
The chili burger is made with homemade green chili.
"I want to make as many things as I can home cooked," Hanson said.
That includes the restaurant's signature appetizer, Creek Side Chips. For $6, the plate of homemade potato chips covered with melted cheese, tomatoes, bacon, green onion and ranch dressing is almost a meal in itself.
Hanson said the hand-breaded calamari served with a special sauce and lemon for $10 is one of his creations, as is the classic French onion soup, which is $6.
The restaurant's salads include a classic Ceasar for $7, or $9 with chicken, a cobb salad for $8, a cranberry walnut salad for $8, grilled salmon salad for $8 and a spinach salad with cranberries, walnuts, strawberries, goat cheese, hard-boiled egg and croutons for $7.
There aren't many places you can order a true corned-beef reuben sandwich but the Creek Side is one of them. A turkey reuben is also available ($8).
Dominating the breakfast menu is the Bogey Breakfast Scramble, two eggs with a choice of five items for $8. Then there are the huevos rancheros served with two eggs any style on corn tortillas, with black beans, green chili, cheese, potatoes and a warm flour tortilla for $7. French toast is $6 and pancakes are $5. The breakfast sandwich and breakfast burrito are $4.
Opening the restaurant has required Hanson to put in a lot of 12-hour days, but he's OK with that.
"Food is the only thing I've ever really done," he said. "It's nice to be working for myself."
Waitress Sarah Maillet said she's worked in restaurants for many years and likes her job at Creek Side.
"It's a good atmosphere here," she said. "It's family oriented. We have two bars, so there's a place for loud happy hours and a place to be away from that."
There are grab-n-go sandwiches for golfers, too, she added.